Friday, April 18, 2014

Fly on the Wall

"What was that noise?" I ask, waking up from a deep sleep to crashing and clunking sounds.
"Is someone in our apartment?" inquires Jonathan, after I emerge from the bed.

Walking into the living room I see two bright, beady eyes glaring up at me from atop the entertainment center. A sleek, slender, black form hops down and scampers away to hide under the couch.

"SALEM!" I exclaim, probably louder than I should for 2 AM. As I walk back to bed I tell Jonathan  Salem just "knocked over every DVD and Blu-Ray on the top shelf of the stand."

"Mmmhmmgggg..." he replies, and we go back to bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What was that noise?" I cry, terried that someone had just smashed in the front window and broken into our apartment. Slowly, I peer around the corner into the kitchen and see a sleek, slender black form fly by my feet, into the bedroom, and under the bed. I stop. Stare. On the floor lays the broken remnants of a ceramic bowl from our fancy dinnerware, the top of a glass goblet, 3 pieces of a pint glass, and litle tiny bits of food and wine strewn everywhere across the kitchen. Disheartened, I gather a broom and dustpan and plenty of swiffer refills and start to clean.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What was that noise?" we both yell.

*THUMP, thump thump, CLANG, swish, THUMP, clatter clatter clatter*

"What the hell is she doing?" I try to ask as we see a sleek, slender black form leaping and bounding up and down on top of our feet, hunting her prey.

ZZZzzz....

THUMP!

"What is going on?" Jonathan exclaims, as the same thumping and clanging is occurring on our comforter again.

"Salem is just hunting our toes, that is all," I sigh as I try to get back into any semblance of slumber.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Salem, get off the table while we are eating!!"

"Salem, move! We cannot watch American Horror Story with your whole body in front of the TV!!"

"If you do not stop eating our avocaods, I will kill you, Salem!!"

"This paper is due in one hour and I still have two pages left! MOVE SALEM!!"

"Fine, stay out there! If you want to run outside every time we open the door you can just live OUTSIDE!"

"I literally fed you 5 minutes ago with a full cup of food. You are not on the brink of starvation so please stop whining!"

"This is vegan mayonaise, Salem. VEGAN! You are a carnivore! Eat your meaty food and leave us alone!"

"If you do not stop eating all of our house plants, I will gladly give you to the neighbors. They have 5 young children that would love to make you into a toy doll!"


You may recognize these scenarios. You probably have exclaimed similar sentiments before. I want you to take one guess as to who Salem is....

THAT'S RIGHT!

A cat. Obviously. Typical feline behavior, yet it never fails to surprise. Our little tiny black cat Salem terrorizes us on a daily basis. Make that HOURLY basis. If she is not getting into trouble she is WHIZZING and ZOOMING with her claws out across the carpet, sounding like a stampede of angry elephants. Yetwe have not killed her............

I would not trade her for anything, but stories like these make me loathe and abhor her more than Lil Kim hates Nicki Minaj.

This is my life. If you were to be a fly on my walls you would surely hear me either yelling and screaming at my cat that she is "the devil and satain incarnate and she should die in the fiery pits of hell," or gently massaging her fur and telling her she is "the prettiest cat in the whole world and so loving and gentle and sweet."

This post has been part of a blogging challenge group!

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:
http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado
http://www.therowdybaker.com                                  The Rowdy Baker
http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                Just A Little Nutty
http://themomisodes.com                                          The Momisodes
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade
http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl
http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home . . .
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                 Stacy Sews and Schools
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius
http://www.impoverishedvegan.com                                Impoverished Vegan
http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                             Juicebox Confession
http://www.gomamao.com                                         Go Mama O

Friday, April 11, 2014

Use Your Words

Hello again. It is time for another crazy fun blog using words submitted by: http://www.outmannedmommy.com


Fish ~ Summer ~ Robin ~ Baby ~ Squirrel ~ Unbelievable


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

Funny that these words were chosen to me because the three of the are animals, (I am a vegan, after all) and one is my absolute favorite season! Not just because it is a break from school, I love summer because of the adventures! (and sometimes misadventures.) I am taken back to Colorado when we went on an unbelievable vacation to the Grand Mesa, the largest flat topped mountain in the US. It is where my dad taught me how to fish and how to paddle a canoe. Squirrels scampered along the ferns and falled pine needles. Red-breasted robins chirped early to welcome in the new day, hopping along on their tiny little bird feet. I have always thought bird feet were structurally strange for their body size, especially robins. Have you ever seen an very plump, round robin? He still hops along with just as much ease as others! I think it is precious. Douglas fir, Foxtail pine, and white-tailed deer scattered the landscape surrounding an expansive lake atop the mountain; the water was as still as glass. That is, until a fish swam up and made the prettiest rings, growing larger until they were no longer seen. We would paddle a canoe to the very center. "Hook a worm. Let it sink to the very bottom. Reel up just about ooooone foooooooot. That should do it," I can hear him say. Nibble. Tug. TUGGGG!! These fish were actually HUGE compared to my little 6 year old body! They were especially huge to my baby brother, being three years younger than I was. I remember some of them rocked the boat! Once snagged, (the vegan inside me right now is dying, thinking of what I used to do) we reeled quickly until the fish was grabbed, unhooked, and tossed in a large cooler. Okay, so this is not as horrifying to a fish-consumer, but I have been fish free for over a year now and a major reason was my love for all animals. The fishing industry is just too cruel and careless to the fish for my tastes and I personally choose to refrain. This is not a plug for veganism; I am just trying to help you understand my mentality and how strange it is looking back and seeing how the things I used to do have changed so drastically. We would go back to the cabin and descale the fish. Even at that time in my life, I did not want to personally do it. I did not want to cause any additional harm to the creature that I had just taken from its habitat. I will not go into the graphic details but I was horrified at the gutting. It was unbelievable to me that this was a necessary part of life until I realized that it was not necessary in my life. I have loved this prompt because it really has taken me back to good memories in my life with family and vacation. I miss the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains, the diverse wildlife, and especially the treacherous trails we used to hike. My dad would always go first to test the stability and watch us carefully while we traversed the rocks and dirt. I still think of Colorado when I see robins, squirrels, and even rainbow trout. This is just a little snippet into my life that I have never been able to pull out until now!

I want to send a big thank you to  http://www.outmannedmommy.com for submitting those words. It is unbelievable how fitting they were to my past! It worked out great! I never write personal blogs, just recipes, so this actually has been a very nice change of pace to my normal routine. I look forward to the next blog challenge! If you liked this post, I may just write more of my life and feelings because I have greatly enjoyed writing this. 

Here are the other participants! Read their crazy words!

http://bakinginatornado.com                      Baking In A Tornado
http://followmehome.shellybean.com              Follow me home . . .
http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com       Stacy Sews and Schools
http://www.outmannedmommy.com/              Outmanned
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                Someone Else’s Genius
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/               Confessions of a part-time working mom
http://www.themomisodes.com                   The Momisodes
http://www.impoverishedvegan.com               Impoverished Vegan
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com              Spatulas on Parade
http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                     Battered Hope
http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com            Evil Joy Speaks
http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com                      Juicebox Confession


Friday, April 4, 2014

Secret Subject Swap

I am doing things a little bit differently today. I stumbled across a blogging community that takes blogging to a whole new level! They get together and challenge each other to write blog posts that have a very specific point; today, we are secret subject swapping! Most of the bloggers are humor writers and they have some really great posts. I have noticed there are numerous mothers participating so if you have a child, I would totally recommend reading some of these women! They are hilarious. This was my subject:

"There are no hurdles or constraints whatsoever, so If you could arrange a special surprise that totally blows their mind for someone, for whom and what would it be?"

As a food blogger, my first go-to would be to cook for someone! But who... There are many, many people for whom I would absolutely LOVE to cook for, so narrowing it down will be quite the task. I look to my friends. I have successfully cooked for many of them with great compliments and astounding praise. I love preparing a meal, serving it, and watching my guest consume the food and enjoy it thoroughly. It really does bring me great joy when others have joy. Hmm.... Who could I cook for that would bring me joy if they enjoyed my meal? 

I then think of a chef that changed the world. Julia Child. Wait...
THE Julia Child? Why, yes. 

Julia Child.


If I could arrange a special surprise for someone that would totally blow their mind with no constraints whatsoever, I would cook for Julia Child. 

TIDBIT of the day: the last meal Julia Child ever consumed was French Onion Soup. 

This is where this post gets crazy. I am going to assume that Julia could come back to earth for one day. She would get to relive her last moments of life. I am going to prepare an exquisite, vegan version of French Onion Soup, and take her to the National Museum of American History, where her beloved kitchen is now on display because she donated it for the love of food. I want her to be able to know and appreciate the effect she had on the world and on food. Her last book, My Life in France, ends with the quote: 

"... thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!"

Wow. Bon appétit! 

That was her special catch phrase she uttered at the end of her cooking show! Getting back on track, I would like to propose a special recipe for the second last meal of Julia Child. 

What would I use? How would I make it exquisite? Would it be good enough? She is the authority on French cuisine and I am attempting to make her a meal????

What have I gotten myself into?! 

Okay, do not panic. Keep Calm and Carry On, or whatever that weird meme is. 

For the base...
I imagine a wonderfully rich vegetable broth with carrots and celery, boiled down to a thick consistency.
When you start to sauté the onions, the kitchen will reek with unbelievable scents. Add a bit of garlic and everyone will start to drool...

Place some herbes de provence in the onions and the spirit of France will come alive in your kitchen! 
Transfer everything to a soup pot and start to simmer to a boil. 

French Onion Soup must be accompanied by bread of some fashion.
Start to toast sliced french baguette in a toaster oven and add a basil pesto halfway through. Once the toast is crispy, remove from the oven and let sit until the soup comes to a boil.

Place the savory soup into individual bowls and top with a slice of the basil baguette. All of the ingredients will be toasty and warm and now comes time to top with cheese!

CHEESE?! But this is a vegan blog! 

"You do not consume cheese!" some may say.

Alas, there does exist some creation of a vegan cheese that would adorn this soup most royally. 

Daiya makes an excellent vegan havarti cheese that comes from the vegan goddess of cheese! I actually used this on my Buffalo Tempeh Burger awhile back! It was divine. 

The soup is almost complete. With herbes de provence, the french scent is heavily apparent. Basil baguettes top the savory soup with a crisp crunch. Heavenly havarti adds a sharp undertone to the top of the soup. All that is left is the garnish. 

Take a sprig of rosemary and shed those little leaves upon the melty, gooey, crispy, crunchy, savory, salty soup for the perfect vegan French Onion Soup! 

If this intrigues your senses, look forward to the specific recipe coming soon! This super exciting blogging challenge gave me the inspiration to construct a vegan French Onion Soup in real life. I will shop this weekend and try to bring this potential recipe to life! 

A huge thank you to Confessions of a Part-time Working Mom for this wonderful prompt! To read more of her stuff, click here! 

This challenge has been organized by Karen, her blog HERE! 

To see the other entries in the challenge this month, here is a list of the blogs that are participating in this Secret Subject Swap! 

(trust me, this was exceedingly fun and made me think of a fun way to write my blog!)


http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://themomisodes.com                                             The Momisodes
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com                    Stacy Sews and Schools
http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home . . .
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                         Someone Else’s Genius
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/              Confessions of a part-time working mom
http://www.dribblesngrits.com                                    Dribbles and Grits
http://www.impoverishedvegan.com                          Impoverished Vegan
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com                         Spatulas on Parade
http://dinoheromommy.com/                                      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
http://morethancheeseandbeer.blogspot.com              More Than Cheese and Beer
http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com                  Evil Joy Speaks
http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com                         Juicebox Confession
http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com/
                        Climaxed

Please visit these wonderful blogs and look forward to the next installment of these awesome blogging challenges! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheesy Tomatokra Soup

Beloved vegans and nons, I come to you with this hodgepodge of ingredients from my refrigerator and pantry. This is what happens when you are in between grocery trips but are in the mood for a warm meal. The formula for this recipe is similar to my dear friend Emily's vegan stew! Recipe here. She threw together a few cans in her pantry and it turned into one of the most hearty, delicious stews I have ever had! For times like this, I keep vegan cheese sauce at the ready most of the time, except when my cat spills all of my cashews that had been soaking for 8 hours onto the floor, ruining any plans for mac and cheese. This happened. I was furious. Going back to the recipe, prepare the cheese sauce according to the blog post. 


Ingredients:


  • 1 batch cheese sauce           ($3.00)
  • 2 cans tomatoes and okra     ($0.99)
  • 1 can black beans, drained   ($0.59)



Preparation:

Throw it all in a large pot and heat until warmed through. For less than $4.50, you have a wonderful stew that could also serve well as a party dip! Try it with corn chips, carrot sticks, or just straight up with a spoon! 

Cheesy stew!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I actually had never really experienced spinach artichoke dip until I dined at Brixx Wood Fired Pizza. Sure, I tasted it at Super Bowl parties and family reunions but it was never really something that I saw as an exquisite dish or appetizer. Spinach Artichoke dip at Brixx is the most savory, warm, salty dip served with either pita bread or blue corn chips for the gluten-free. It completely opened my eyes to how amazing this dip can be. Since turning vegan, I have tried many imitations of cheese, cream, dairy, and meat. Other than when I made Vegan New England Clam Chowder, I feel like this recipe replicates the creamy, cheesy, gooeyness of non-vegan food the best. 




Ingredients:

  • 3 slices whole grain bread                      ($0.16)
  • 3 tbsp. vegan butter                                ($0.24)
  • 1 medium onion, diced                           ($0.24)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil                                        ($0.02)
  • 2 cans white beans, drained, rinsed      ($1.10)
  • 6 tbsp. nutritional yeast                          ($1.60)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth                           ($0.35)
  • 2 tsp. sea salt                                         ($0.02)
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil                                    ($0.04)
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes                         ($0.06)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced                      ($0.99)
  • 8 cups of spinach, chopped                  ($1.60)
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained           ($0.99)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese            ($2.35)
  • 1 can french fried onions                       ($0.99)

Preparation:


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bread and butter in a blender or food processor and blend to create a dough like consistency. Set aside. Insert the white beans, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, salt, basil, and red pepper flakes in the same food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside. Sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Toss the garlic in and cook for 2 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and stir until warmed. Slowly throw some of the spinach in a few handfuls at a time. Wilt the spinach and then add some more. This will take some time but will yield a healthy, hearty dip! Turn the heat off and add the white bean mixture and half of the mozzarella cheese. Stir until warmed through. Place in a casserole pan and spread the dough mixture over the top of the dip. Add the rest of the cheese on top and place a layer of aluminum foil over the dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and add the french fried onions. Bake for an additional 15 minutes and you should have an irresistibly savory spinach and artichoke dip! 

Bread and Butter
Gooey butter dough
Bean Batter
Blended bean batter
Just onions... 
DELICIOUS GARLIC ONIONS
ALL THE SPINACH
Starting to look like artichoke dip
REMEMBER THE BATCHES
ADDING ALL THE SPINACH AT ONCE WILL MAKE A MESS
Wet, wilted, wonderful spinach
Even more gooey than you ever thought possible
Dollops of dough
This is Daiya brand mozzarella but Trader Joe's has a nice version
Are you excited yet??
You do not have to add the whole jar
I LOVE FRIED ONIONS
The cheese is also optional but who does not love CHEESE??
Crunchy, creamy spinach dip
Layers of luscious dip
Another amazing artichoke entrée
Look at that oozing artichoke casserole!
Soooo....we ate the entire casserole in one sitting
It is seriously that DELICIOUS
Devilishly delicious dough makes a great addition to this dip
Look at my new kitchen! It is so much bigger than I am used to
I have room to take display food photos!
I still have a lot to learn so if you guys have any advice on
cooking OR photography, please let me know!

Alright, alright... this casserole dip concoction is a tiny bit more expansive than the recipes I usually post; if you do not eat it in one night it will save very well and actually evens out in price versus quantity of food. BUT WE ARE COWS AND VEGANS NEED MORE FOOD. Anyway, I just thought I would send a shout out to One Green Planet for providing the base for this amazing resskippee (how my boyfriend pronounces recipe, isn't he cute?!) and another should out to my coworkers for being the guinea pigs for this recipe. Except that would involve animal testing. And I am vegan. And I am against animal testing. So never mind about the guinea pigs; I just want to thank them for being so supportive and eating the delicious food that I make. That is all.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day (Vegan Reuben)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Time for green beer, shamrocks, and dancing leprechauns. Instead of going to the store and buying pre-packaged, over priced, imitation meat product, I decided to get creative and try to work out a Reuben sandwich without the meat! My favorite part was creating the vegan Thousand Island dressing! It is a great vegan version if I do say so myself. Here is what I came up with:

For the Thousand Island:

  • 1 cup vegan mayonaise       ($0.26)
  • ⅓ cup ketchup                       ($0.12)
  • 1 dill pickle, diced                 ($0.05)
  • ⅓ cup Annie's Goddess       ($0.65)
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard            ($0.18)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and you will be in shock of how similar this tastes to real Thousand Island dressing! Also, $1.26 is not too shabby for a homemade dressing.

For the Sandwich:

  • 1 slice of pumpernickel rye bread         ($0.22)
  • 3 tbsp. vegan Thousand Island               ($0.16)
  • 1 large mushroom, sliced                       ($0.15)
  • 1 tbsp. beau monde seasoning             ($0.18)
  • 3 tbsp. sauerkraut                                    ($0.08)
  • 1 tbsp. vegan butter                                ($0.12)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth                             ($0.15)
Slice the mushroom and soak it in the vegetable broth and beau monde seasoning for about 15 minutes. This is a good time to make the Thousand Island dressing. Cut the slice of bread in half. Toast the bread, then apply half of the thousand island to both sides of the bread. Save the other half for later. Sauté the mushrooms in the vegetable broth on medium until soft. Scoop the mushrooms out and set aside. Add the sauerkraut to the broth and lower the heat to low until warmed. Layer the mushrooms and the sauerkraut on the bread and add the remaining dressing. Melt some butter in a small saucepan and fry both sides of the bread. Bia blásta! (or Irish for 'tasty food', like saying bon appetit) (($1.06 per sandwich))

I prefer Vegenaise but NayoWhipped was all I had in my fridge
I am curious as to how this would have turned out
using Vegenaise because it was so great the first time
 
THIS. Just THIS. If you have not tried this dressing,
stop reading and go to Kroger and BUY IT!
To me, it tastes like a vegan caesar dressing
To my boyfriend, a blue cheese dressing
Either way it is absolutely delicious and I feel like it is
the secret ingredient to this Thousand Island

Add caption


DO NOT TRY AT HOME, KIDS
I love taking danger shots of blenders with the lid off

Little shot of dressing
I could almost drink this stuff straight
Almost


Beau Monde means beautiful world and it certainly lives up to the name






This looks so nasty and actually smells so nasty
although it does taste great
DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY OUTWARD APPEARANCE








Saturday, March 8, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Rice Casserole

Everybody loves the flavor combination of Broccoli and Cheddar. That may or may not be because cheese makes everything better and cheddar is one of the best cheeses. I admit it; I am a vegan who still discusses how amazing some cheeses are! I love cheese. I will always love cheese. I have come to terms with the facts and cheese is bad for animals and the human body, but otherwise, I would literally consume cheese with every meal. With cheddar, the sharper the better! I want to feel the bit from the cheddar on my whole tongue. Anyway, getting back to the recipe... I created this casserole when we needed a hearty, wintery meal that involved cheese (vegan, obviously). Easy, inexpensive and delightfully tasteful, this vegan broccoli cheese casserole kills zero animals and contains zero cholesterol. 

Ingredients:


  • 2 heads broccoli                                ($0.99)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced                      ($0.25)
  • 1 cup brown rice                                ($0.20)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced                  ($0.99)
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce                             ($0.15)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth                       ($0.30)
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch                             ($0.10)
  • 1 cup vegan cheddar cheese           ($2.99)

Preparation:


Cook the rice according to your preferred method of cooking. I use a wonderful Japanese rice cooker that smart senses when the rice is cooked; it takes about two hours but cooking on the stove is completely acceptable. Steam the broccoli for 15 minutes. Feel free to drink one glass of red wine while the broccoli cooks. Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms and garlic for approximately 6 minutes or until the mushrooms soften. Mix in a bowl the soy sauce, broth, and corn starch. Add this to the mushrooms and garlic. This should create a broth-like "cream of mushroom soup" consistency. Turn the heat off. Add the broccoli. Stir well. Place into a casserole pan and top with the vegan cheddar cheese. Daiya makes two types of vegan cheddar cheese. The cheddar-style shreds are oily when heated, but the cheddar-style wedge melts marvelously for a great topping to this casserole. I recommend the block of cheddar, which yields  a more crunchy topping; the shreds will yield a very fine stringy, cheesy, gooey, melty casserole. Preference is important. At this point, you should probably consume one more glass of red wine (make sure it is vegan). Bake in the oven for 20 mins on 350°F. TADA! Broccoli and cheese have come together perfectly in this vegan casserole. 


Try not to overcook the broccoli
It will continue to cook in the casserole

Rice cookers do an amazing job of producing fluffy rice
Stove cooked rice will do just fine